Union County, N.J. Launches County-wide Emergency Notification System UCFirstAlert Enables Officials to Send Text Messages to the Public in an Emergency
(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
Union County Freeholder Angel G. Estrada (R), Kenilworth Police Chief William Dowd (L) and Kenilworth Police Lt. William Hannon look at the website for UCFirstAlert, a countywide emergency notification system, during a training session on the new system at the Ralph Froehlich Public Safety Building in Westfield. UCFirstAlert is an emergency text and voice messaging system that can relay critical information to the public and emergency responders during a crisis, and was an initiative of Freeholder Angel G. Estrada in 2008. Residents who wish to sign up for the system can do so at www.ucfirstalert.org.
Westfield, N.J., February 11, 2009 – Union County, N.J. announced today the launch of UCFirstAlert (www.UCFirstAlert.org), an emergency text and voice messaging system that will communicate critical information to first responders and the public during a crisis. The launch was held today at a press conference at the Union County Emergency Operations Center in Westfield, N.J.
UCFirstAlert, powered by Cooper Notification’s Roam Secure Alert Network™ (RSAN™), enables city and county officials to send e-mail and text and voice messages to first responders and more than 500,000 citizens via cell phones, pagers, Blackberry®, computers, and other mass notification media during an emergency. Alerts can be sent simultaneously to all of these devices, providing redundant communications for first responders and increasing the likelihood that each resident will receive the message no matter where they are located.
For the special needs community, UCFirstAlert will feature emergency message delivery via Telecommunications Device for the Deaf/Teletypewriter (TDD/TTY) without pre-registration or administrative configuration.
“Providing information to Union County citizens as quickly as possible is one of the most critical factors in saving lives and preventing injuries during an emergency,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Whether we are dealing with floods, winter storms, or threats to homeland security, implementing UCFirstAlert will make our county better prepared for any kind of emergency.”
Union County residents can sign up for UCFirstAlert for free via two methods, either texting UNION to 411911 on their cell phone or visiting www.UCFirstAlert.org. Through www.UCFirstAlert.org, users can customize their subscriptions and choose the types of alerts that they wish to receive such as severe weather alerts, traffic notifications, AMBER alerts and crime information. The public can also receive general news and event information such as event details for county parks and local government updates. Subscribers can select multiple municipalities, the one in which they live and the one in which they work.
Emergency messages can be initiated by the Union County Office of Emergency Management to activate first responders, notify key government officials and alert the entire county or just the region affected by the threat. Alerts can also be sent by one of the county’s cities, towns, or townships to their residents and bordering municipalities for those threats that cross city lines.
Through the Roam Secure Information Exchange (RSIX), Union County and its municipalities can share in real-time daily information and emergency messages with each other as well as other government agency or regional RSAN systems. RSIX also connects to local information sources and automates a variety of alerts such as severe weather, traffic, crime information, and river flood stage monitoring systems. Automated alerts related to flooding of the Rahway River will include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flood warnings and river observation updates from the National Weather Services' Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
As an initiative of 2008, Freeholder Angel G. Estrada spearheaded the project for Union County, which is responsible for implementing UCFirstAlert, a free service funded through a grant from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
RSAN is a product of Roam Secure, Inc., DBA Cooper Notification, and is protected by U.S. patent 7,409,428. Cooper Notification is a platform of Cooper Industries, Ltd., (NYSE:CBE). Cooper Notification has deployed more than 230 RSAN systems across the United States, including major metropolitan areas in and around Washington, DC, Orlando, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Houston, and San Francisco as well as state and federal agencies, colleges, airports, and hospitals. These systems play an important role in all-hazards emergency alerting and information sharing among government leadership, first responders, critical infrastructure providers, businesses, and citizens.